A 58 year old Kilkenny man who became a “substantial drug courier” received a four year sentence at Kilkrnny court on Friday for having over €230,000 worth of cocaine, heroin and cannabis in his home.
The court suspended the last year of the sentence of Jimmy Conway, No. 134 Assumption Place, Kilkenny.
After a day's hearing it emerged that Mr Conway could not extricate himself from the drug gang he was involved with and that after he was arrested, he was sent a photo of his wife filling her car with petrol and there were other forms of intimidation as well which were not mentioned in court to ensure he did not give up any information on the low-life Dublin based drugs cartel with which he was involved.
Even though he was granted bail when arrested on June 16 of this year, no one would go bail for him and it was disclosed he has a strained relationship with his family and that he has a son serving overseas in a war-torn part of the world with the British army.
It was also mentioned that the other son was going to do a doctorate in a Canadian university and that a credit union loan was taken out to help him but that didn't make too much sense because there were three different stashes of cash (four figure sums) found in his house when garda raided it.
Even the gardai giving evidence in the case admitted that Mr Conway would never have been suspected of being a drug courier and didn't fit the profile, yet his house was under a surveillance for a week before gardai pounced on him.
Prior to sentencing Judge Cormac Quinn said that 'it was accepted that Conway would not be expected to name people involved with him because of fears for his safety.
Judge Quinn said Conway was; “a substantial courier who was trusted with large amounts of drugs”.
In mitigation Judge Quinn said that there was an early plea of guilty and that he was satisfied that the defendant had assisted gardai with the investigation of the offence.
He said that the defendant had said that he wanted to fund his son's education but stressed that he was not giving this much weight and the evidence did not bear this out.
The court also heard that the defendant was previously a man of good character with one previous conviction for being caught after hours in a local pub 25 years ago.
The judge outlined that the quantity of the drugs seized was an aggravating factor.
"Drugs, particularly cocaine, wreak havoc on communities. Couriers play an essential role in the drugs trade.
"I do not find any circumstances that justify a wholly suspended sentence.
It should be a six year sentence without mitigation.
"Taking the mitigating factors into consideration I will sentence him to four years in prison and I will suspend the final year on condition that he enters a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour," he said adding that the sentence be backdated to June 16.
Mr Brian O'Shea was the prosecuting counsel instructed by the State Solicitor, Mr Gerry Meaney